Changing your locks is obviously a huge hassle. Nobody wants to do it. Furthermore, many people just think, “None of the people I’ve willingly given a key to would burglarize my home—only strangers break into homes.” Well, that’s a complicated assertion to unpack but, for starters, not only people you’ve knowingly given keys to have keys to your home. There are plenty of other ways and reasons that strangers could have keys. And, furthermore, sadly, it isn’t only strangers who burglarize homes. So, here are times you should definitely change the locks on your home.
After renting out your home
If you do a house exchange, or you have two properties—one which you rent, and one in which you live—you should change the locks of your rental property every time the tenants leave. Long-term renters especially could have made key copies for friends, dog sitters, neighbors, and other individuals they were close with during their stay. So now those people—who are total strangers to you—could have keys to your home.
After changing roommates
If you have a roommate—whether you split a lease with someone else, or rent a room in the apartment or house that you own—you should change the locks any time you change roommates. This is especially true if you parted ways on bad terms, since that roommate may come back to take something to which she feels entitled, or even vandalize your home.
After there have been renovations
If your home has undergone renovations, then you may have given a contractor a key. While you were fine with him having access to your home while he was working on it, you may not want that individual having access to your home forever. Furthermore, between all of the wear and tear your house suffers during renovations, some locks may have just become weak.
When your locks are wearing out
Speaking of weak locks, if your home is particularly old, then the locks have probably been through a lot over the years. As they wear down, it’s much easier for a burglar to pick the locks. The moment your key begins to fit strangely in the lock or feel too loose in the lock, it’s time to change it.
After letting go of a dog sitter/housekeeper
If you fire a dog sitter, housekeeper, or any other sort of professional who regularly came and went from your home, you should probably change the locks. This is particularly true if you let this person go because you suspected them of stealing things. But even if the person was very angry when you let him or her go, you should change the locks.
Any time you lose your key
If you misplace your key, you should change your locks. You may think, “If someone finds it, how in the world could they guess to which property it belongs?” But it’s always possible that someone with bad intentions watched you drop it, didn’t tell you, and gathered some other information like your license plate, name, and other details which could help them find your home address.
When a spare goes missing
First of all, it’s not the best idea to leave a spare key under a doormat, rock, or another area outside. But, if you have done that, and that key has now gone missing, change your locks. The person who took that definitely knows where you live, since they swiped the key right off of your property.
When you move into a new place
If you buy a home that someone previously lived in, change the locks. The previous resident could have been there for a very long time, during which he may have given copies of keys to countless friends and family members.
After a burglary
You should certainly change the locks after a burglary because, clearly, they didn’t do you much good. A burglar could have also swiped a copy of your key from inside of your house while he was there, so changing the locks is an important step you should take right away.
Those little locks can be the only thing standing between your valuables, and complete strangers, so don’t overlook them as some of your greatest safety assets.